Environmental Services | 206 W. Church St., 2nd Floor | P.O. Box 534045 | Grand Prairie, TX 75053
Phone 972-237-8055 | Fax 972-237-8228
Gas Well Drilling Frequently Asked Questions
Why are gas wells being drilled in this area now?
Geologists have known about the Barnett Shale gas reserves for some time, but
have only recently been able to use the technology of horizontal drilling to
make drilling economically feasible. Market prices for gas also have an effect
on the feasibility for drilling.
How do I know if I own the mineral rights underneath my home?
Looking at your deed or title should be your first step. If you do not have the
records, you can look at them at your county’s courthouse. The City is not
involved in any mineral leasing on private properties.
What state agency regulates the natural gas industry?
In Texas, the Railroad Commission regulates this industry as well as pipeline
safety. For more information, call (512) 463-7288.
How will I know if a gas well is going to be drilled near my home?
Operators or those drilling the well, are required to send notices to those
residences within 600 feet of the well site. Additionally, the operator must
place a legal advertisement in the newspaper for ten days prior to applying to
the City for a permit. The operator must also place a sign with contact
information at the site ten days prior to applying for a permit and a sign will
stay in place through drilling and production. The City will also update its
website to include pending and permitted wells along with operator contact
How close can a gas well be to my home?
The City issues three different types of permits: high impact, urban, and rural
gas well permits. High impact wells can be no closer than 500 feet from a
protected use such as a residence without applying for a variance and having a
What measures have been taken to protect the public and the environment?
Prior to adopting an ordinance, City staff visited gas well sites, reviewed other
ordinances, spoke with industry representatives, and contracted a petroleum
engineer as a third party inspector. The ordinance requires that gas well
drilling activities meet our noise ordinance, that all drilling muds are enclosed
in tanks, that Emergency Response Plans are prepared, and that all possible
safety measures such as well shut in valves are required. During drilling
operations, there is always a watchman or crew on site.
Who reviews the gas well application?
Gas well applications are reviewed by staff from Environmental Services, Fire
Administration, Engineering, Transportation, Planning, Public Works, and Legal.
The Gas Well Inspector also reviews the application.
How is the ordinance enforced?
Gas wells are inspected three times during the drilling stage by our Gas Well
Inspector and once annually thereafter. The City’s Gas Well Inspector is a third
party petroleum engineer who conducts technical and safety inspections of the
wells. City staff also conducts inspections periodically to ensure compliance
with our ordinance.
How long does it take to drill a well?
Drilling times vary depending on the rig and the geology, but typically a well
takes 20 to 45 days to drill and then an additional 30 to 60 days to fracture and
complete the well for production. Once drilling has commenced, it is a 24 hour
What should be expected after the well is completed?
After the well is complete and gas is flowing, the property will be fenced and
company representatives will come to the site on occasion to collect water
that has been separated from the gas or to conduct maintenance.
What is the life of a well?
Wells typically produce gas for about thirty years. After the well is no longer in
production, the well must be capped.
Does the City make money from wells drilled on private property?
Only the mineral owner and mineral lessee directly profit from drilling on
private property. The City, County, and School Districts will receive monies
from property tax increases on the wells as assessed by the County Appraisal
Who can I call if I have a question or complaint?
All questions can be answered by either the operator whose number is posted
on the sign and website or the Environmental Services Department at (972)
For more information, visit
www.gptx.org or for information on gas well operators, go to the Railroad Commission’s website at www.rrc.state.tx.us.